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Transparent company ownership: how does the UK government’s proposed action live up to its rhetoric?
July 16th, 2014
7508035710_8c9a4ab55b_zLate last year, David Cameron announced that the UK would put the names of the people who own and control British companies into the public domain – something that we at Global Witness have long been campaigning for, alongside other NGOs such as ONE and Christian Aid. Such transparency is important because it’s well known that people who want to hide dirty money use the anonymity provided by companies to do so. There are plenty of examples of British companies being abused in this way.
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My 2013 Financial Transparency Person of the Year Picks
December 20th, 2013
Last year, inspired by TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year, I picked ten individuals as nominees for a “Transparency Person of the Year.” Keeping with TIME’s definition, these would be people who influenced the news, for better or worse, on issues related to financial transparency. Keeping with the tradition, here are my picks for 2013. DAVID CAMERON. The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister has led a charge to change worldwide standards on beneficial ownership. In October of this year, the Prime Minister promised to make information on the beneficial ownership of companies available on public registries. Through these registries, the UK...
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The names behind the façades
November 7th, 2013
This Op-Ed originally appeared in European Voice. The UK is showing the way forward on financial transparency Last week, the British prime minister, David Cameron, announced that the UK plans to create a central public register of who ultimately owns and controls companies, or so-called ‘beneficial owners'. This should make it much harder for criminals to hide their identities behind sham UK companies, and for the corrupt to steal billions of dollars from developing countries. Currently, corporations can be formed worldwide without disclosing who actually owns or controls them. Criminals often exploit this ability to create anonymous companies for the sole purpose...
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Campaigns and Policy: Public Registries and Beneficial Owners
October 31st, 2013
Nuance can be a challenge for Financial Transparency Coalition issues. To the average citizen or politician, the relationship between banking laws in developed countries and poverty in developing countries is not self-evident. On its face, it’s not obvious that public registries in the United Kingdom have anything to do with corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yet there are compelling connections between these issues and strong causal relationships between them. Our challenge is to explain why. At the risk of sounding too self-congratulatory, I must say the group of organizations who work on these issues does a phenomenal...
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